December 15, 2017

The Battle Against the Germs: Natural Remedies to Help You Win the War {Fresh From the Cabinet}

The Battle Against the Germs: Natural Remedies to Win the War
Hello hello. Here I am through the fog of vinegar and my other natural cleaning products. I don't know about you, but we are SOOOOOOOO sick of germs and nasties! There have been days recently where I wondered if I could ever totally get the snot out of the house! But even though we get hit a few times, we tend to be up and going again quickly. Today, I am going to share some tricks we have used to keep us able to bounce back when we get knocked down in the battle with the germs during the cold and flu season!

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical provider. I am simply "Doctor Mom" who does a lot of research to find the best things to help her family stay as healthy as possible. I am simply sharing ideas for what has worked for us time and time again. 

1. Never Underestimate the Power of A Cup of Tea

My family members are MAJOR herbal tea drinkers. I make my own teas with loose leaf herbs (I buy all my loose herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs), but also have a couple of store bought varieties I am never without. I always keep Traditional Medicinals Organic Echinacea Plus (with elderberry) tea in the pantry. We buy it by the case to make sure we are never without. You can find it in most grocery stores--usually just in the tea section. I only buy Traditional Medicinals brand because they have always come out on top when tested for pesticides in their packaging and/or herbs. Not all teas do, so it's important to know if something as simple as your tea bag is actually toxic

I love the entire Traditional Medicinals line and you can't go wrong with any of them. They have some designed for sore throats, and cold care specifically...however, we just like to drink this one because it has everything I want--two of the best herbs for boosting the immune system.

If you have kids, you should consider adding Traditional Medicinals Just for Kids Organic Cold Care! It's the perfect tea for your kiddos when they aren't feeling 100%. 

Now, I mentioned loose herbs. I keep canisters and jars of loose herbs in my pantry too. I LOVE making my own tea concoctions and can gear the ingredients to what "ails me" so to speak. I shared a recipe for Linden Flower tea not to long ago that is a GREAT option for dealing with the nasty coughs from the respiratory junk. I also have found recipes for making teas that help your body fight off cold/flu infections. I drank a mug of that once a day while my boys were sick with sinus junk--and guess who didn't get sick?! That's right. Me!

I also LOOOOVVVEEEE adding slippery elm bark to tea. This herb is fantastic for turning down the volume of coughs. I put some in my little tea balls and add it to my Traditional Medicinals teas when I need it!

Tea is my first defense the minute I hear a sniff or cough, and we have had great success time and time again using tea in the front line. My husband prefers coffee, but when he feels the germs invading, he quickly asks for the tea knowing that if he attacks early, he can kick them out before they gain a hold.

2. Oil Up Buttercup!

Next up in the line of defense are my trusty essential oils. I have oils for nearly every situation, but the ones that get used the most are definitely the immune boosters! I am not an essential oil snob. I understand that people can't afford expensive oils. I have my first choice company is dōTERRA, but I also purchase from a much beloved other company, Mountain Rose Herbs, which offers top quality oils at a less expensive price (and no fees or subscriptions). I would also recommend Young Living and Rocky Mountain Oils as I have many friends who use oils from these companies.

Click Diffuser to Learn more!

My preference for using my essential oils is definitely diffusing and in my rollerbottles. I own THREE diffusers now and if I hear that sniffle or cough, you better believe I head over and get them rolling! Some of my favorite oils to diffuse to help boost my body's immune system or to purify the air include the following:

Breathe (a  dōTERRA blend)
On Guard (a  dōTERRA blend) or Thieves (a Young Living blend)
Juniper Berry

These oils really help the respiratory system and make everything smell good. They also work great for battling the nighttime coughs. I get my boys' diffuser rocking n' rolling and then close their door. They get a lovely steam inhalation all night long!

You can find these essential oils at dōTERRA or Mountain Rose Herbs. I recommend BOTH companies as having high quality oils (Mountain Rose Herbs carries certified organic options). Especially for aromatherapy and topical use.

If I hear a sniffle, I will brew some tea and then grab my oils and oil up whomever needs it. I keep them in my purse so I have them wherever I go! Going after the germs and boosting your body's defenses at the get go really pays off!

3. Up The Fluids

Just as I add more herbal tea, I also start insisting everyone drink more fluids--especially plain old water and our go-to for battling the cruds--pineapple juice! Seriously. A single serving of pineapple has more than 130% of the daily requirement of vitamin C for human beings, making it one of the richest and most delicious sources of ascorbic acid. We find it is a better choice than Orange Juice, but we keep both on hand because my hubby only likes OJ. We will drink at least 2 glasses of pineapple juice--or eat it fresh--per day this time of year.

In general, increasing your fluids will help flush your system. And if you are pairing this with the oils and herbal tea, you are building a bigger and bigger wall of defense!

4. Elderberry is Our Friend

I have written TWO posts with different elderberry syrup recipes (Basic recipe and a Spicier Recipe). It is SOOOO easy to make and all the ingredients can be found at your grocery store and online at Mountain Rose Herbs. I keep a big jar of it in my fridge and we take 1 tablespoon a day during the cold/flu season "just because" and I increase it when someone is getting suspiciously sniffly. There is nothing wrong with it--so there really isn't a limit as to how much to do--but you really don't need to go crazy. A tablespoon or two a day works great! And why elderberry syrup? It's like the germ fighting immune boosting superhero! You can find elderberry syrup in most grocery stores that have a section with vitamins or natural medicine options. Our Kroger carries it. So does Walmart and Safeway. So if you want to just forget making it and purchase it, you totally can!

5. Spicy Foods!

It has been proven time and time again that eating hot and spicy foods is actually good for your system! Because of that we make sure we regularly eat hot and spicy food--well actually we eat it a lot because we love it! The hotter the better! During this time of year, we go out of our way to cook with our extra hot peppers and to add extra salsa to everything. It's simple and delicious! :)

6. I Love "Snorting" Water!: aka. Neti Pots rock!

Do you know what a neti pot is? It is a simple little pitcher that is used to pour a gentle saline water solution in your nose to clear out your sinuses. It's sort of like intentionally getting salt water up your nose. LOL. The method is ideal for respiratory issues and if I feel a sniffle, you better believe I am going after my neti pot!

A few things to note--you MUST use purified, filtered and/or boiled water. There are bacterias that can be in tap water and you don't want them up your nose. I only use my reverse osmosis filtered water for my neti pot. If you don't have filtered water on tap, just boil and cool some water. There are some special neti pot packets sinus cleanser salt that you can get and put into your water. I don't use those. I simply make my own saline by using a very gently GENTLY salted water. Enough that I know it has salt, but not enough to burn. About as salty as tears.

There is a knack to doing it, but once you figure it out, it's very very easy. And the clarity it brings to your sinuses is amazing. I have cleaned out tons of grossness with a simple neti pot before. And even if you aren't sniffly yet, it helps flush out your sinuses before they get attacked!

But Wait there's more!

Now there are actually two ADDITIONAL things you can do to help boost your immune system to win the battles against germs and our family has only recently started doing one of them, and we will be starting the other soon.

7. Colloidal Silver

This is something that you will hear a wide range of information about. You can hear thousands of testimonials about how how colloidal silver has helped people deal with their ____ (enter about any ailment you want), but then several health sites that raise concerns about the safety. I urge you to do your research before starting use, just as you would with any other homeopathic option. You can read about some of the benefits of using colloidal silver by Dr. Axe to get started. 

After doing a lot of research and speaking with people who have used it safely for years, we made the decision to begin using it with our own family very recently. You can get it from a lot health food stores. Our friend bought the machine to make it herself (it's a lot of money to do that! LOL) and we get our supply from her. Thus far we have been impressed what the tiniest amount (an eyedropper amount orally) can do to clear up respiratory illness! Because it has similar characteristics to an antibiotic, you aren't supposed to do it more than 14 days in a row. But it works so well, you only need to do it a few days anyways! But there are still many people with reservations on using it. I will continue to do my research, but thus far the little bit we've used it have worked fabulously.

8. Give me a V-I-T-A-M-I-N D!

It is not any great surprise that most humans are vitamin D deficient. You can only get it naturally from the sun itself (and eating raw mushrooms I think). Vitamin D fights infections, including colds and the flu, "as it regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses. Researchers estimate that 50 percent of the general population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency. Among school aged children, that percentage may be as high as 70 percent " (Dr. Mercola) Is it any surprise that the flu and respiratory illness skyrockets during the fall and winter when people are able to be in sunshine the least?! If you can't be in the sun, the only other way to get Vitamin D is by supplement! We have yet to start a Vitamin D supplement because I'm still gathering information about which ones would be the best for my family to take---but we are definitely going to be adding Vitamin D to our routine to help optimize our health!

I hope that this has given you an idea or two for ways to boost your families immune system during this time of year when the germs go to war. May they help you fight the battle and keep your family as healthy as possible this year!

What are your go-to things to keep your own body and family healthy? Were any of them on my list? Did any of these give you a new idea? Let me know and share a comment! :)


Sheila said...

super ideas! We have a cough syrup that we keep in the fridge all the time, that we call "magic" for those nighttime coughs...basically it's honey/cayenne/garlic/ginger/applecidervinegar and works great!

Unknown said...

I LOOVVVEEEEE this list! While I have not tried every remedy on your list, I too urge tea in my house for a multitude of ailments. Honey is also high on our list for coughs and sore throats. Last year we all had the flu (influenza B) and that was our first experience with essential oils and I loved it! Every day we are trying to get further away from all of the OTC remedies and options out there and go for a more natural way to deal with colds, viruses, germs, and household cleaning. And while I have yet to try my hand at homemade soaps, that is high on my list of priorities.

annette said...

hubby has a netti pot and I just can't convince myself to use it... now tea.. oh.. colds bring out the teas and bouillon. YUM!!!! :)

Jeniffer D said...

Master Tonic is a go-to for me, not so much for the kids. ;)

Kym Thorpe said...

Lots of good strategies!! I'd almost forgotten about our neti-pot - that's our family's go-to.